Dirty tricks department

What does this headline, as seen in a screengrab from today’s Daily Telegraph online, imply to you?

Dirty tricks

See larger image here.

The bit about “election rival ‘gay'” would be more accurately summed up as “independent candidate you’ve never heard of plans to use gay hunks to push campaign”, but what impression is it going to leave on people who only read the headlines? They’re going to think it’s about Rudd, aren’t they? It’s an attempt to make him have to deny that he’s gay for the rest of the campaign, just to smear him in the eyes of the public.

There’s more at The Orstrahyun and The Poll Bludger.

crossposted from Hoyden About Town


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Posted in elections, federal election '07, media
29 comments on “Dirty tricks department
  1. FDB says:

    Chance of subbies not realising it could be interpreted to mean Rudd = zero.

    Pretty shameless stuff really.

  2. FDB says:

    With the usual caveat of course that if the editorial staff at the Tele didn’t spot the potential misinterpretation they should be taken out the back and shot etc etc

  3. tigtog says:

    Sorry, I didn’t link to the original Tele story. [link]
    The headline as above was still there a few seconds ago.

  4. Stephen Bayne says:

    Of course this is why I want Labor win. All this media bias scares the hell out of me.

  5. FDB says:

    Crikey! Still got that cold then Stephen? 😉

  6. Tim Macknay says:

    Chance of this headline having any impact whatsoever on the election = 0.
    The hysteria about this over at Pollbludger is seriously out of control. No need to start another beatup about it here. I wouldn’t be surprised if the only people who have actually bothered to look at the online article (the print version has a different headline) are the same ones complaining about it at Pollbludger. Storm in a teacup. Move on, people.

  7. FDB says:

    Tim – I agree that TT’s “attempt to make him have to deny that he’s gay for the rest of the campaign, just to smear him in the eyes of the public” is a bit far-fetched, but it’s definitely some pretty unethical subediting.

  8. Tim Macknay says:

    True FDB, it’s a shabby headline that has virtually no connection with the content of the article and is crudely sensationalist.

  9. joe2 says:

    This is very tacky stuff and will likely backfire.

    Still, my bet is that John Howard would be prepared to ‘come out’, if
    winning Wentworth meant the coalition stayed in government and he could keep that electorate admission, ‘inhouse’.

    This bloke looks difficult to push out of the way.

  10. tigtog says:

    FDB, the point was made by Darryl Mason and others that it wasn’t much more substance than this to all that guff about Mark Latham’s allegedly “disgusting” bucks night, and he had to keep on addressing questions about that nonexistent tape for the whole campaign.

    I think this sort of thing is less likely to work, but it is still pretty shoddy.

  11. FDB says:

    Aw come on. The Latham story was at least believable, and not (in the very text beneath the headline) self-debunking.

  12. tigtog says:

    I guess I’m thinking of the Chinese whisper potential of it all, where it just becomes a rumour that “everybody’s heard” without knowing that it came cut from whole cloth out of a piece of shabby subediting.

    But maybe you’re right. I hope so.

  13. joe2 says:

    Remember how things panned out in the last NZ election folks?
    The ‘gay smear’ was directed at the PMs husband from the E.B.s.
    It went nowhere.

    A recent claim about a government minister, disappeared with little trace. My bet is that there are far too many skeletons, in both closets, for an ‘under the sheet tampa’. What the fundys come up with will always remain a wildcard.

  14. Paul Burns says:

    No one will believe this smear. And some conservative in the gay community would have outed him to discredit him long before this if it was true. Nothing to worry about.
    The above is not a bad reflection on the gay cdommunity so please don’t read it as if it is. My viewpoint is that of a political pragmatist.

  15. silkworm says:

    This is the so-called ‘bombshell’ that Crikey was warning us about? Oh puhlease…

    For starters, this headline did not appear in the real-world version of the Tele, but in the online version, which no one reads.

    Secondly, the only people giving this story any weight are people on teh left like us here at LP.

    Thirdly, who cares that Rudd is gay? Bob Brown is gay too. So what?

    Fourthly, if anyone was interested enough to follow through on that story, they would find it refers to Danielle Ecuyer’s employment of ‘climate hunks’ in her campaign in Wentworth. Just who the ‘election rival’ referred to in that campaign is simply does not make any sense. It would become immediately clear that the headline was grossly misleading, and it would rebound severely on the Tele and the Libs.

    Look, if this story had any legs at all, it would immediately be shown up as an attempt at gay-baiting, and who do you think would be most upset by this? Who do you think the gay community would hold to blame over this? What do you think this would do to Turnball’s attempts at courting the Pink vote in Wentworth? According to the latest Galaxy poll (I am led to understand from a comment at Pollbludger), Turnball is at 49 per cent 2PP versus Newhouse on 51 per cent 2PP. Do you think this story will help Turnball gain that 1 per cent he needs to retain his seat?

    Look at the main story – sorry, not sorry, sorry, not sorry…

    Howard is roadkill on toast.

  16. Darryl Mason says:

    That absolutely dodgy headline has now been x-ed from all Daily Telegraph online pages, though it still shows up in Google News.

    A person who claims to work at the Daily Telegraph e-mailed to say that Malcolm Farr supposedly “went ballistic” when heard how this story was spreading.

    But did he go ballistic when he first saw the headline someone put on his story?

    Before and after headlines are here at :


    As for “no-one reads the online Tele”, I’ve been told the site scores more than 100,000 page impressions a day (separate figures from news.com.au), and can reach 250,000 or more when a big story is breaking. That’s not exactly a small audience, is it?

  17. tigtog says:

    Look at the main story – sorry, not sorry, sorry, not sorry…

    Howard is roadkill on toast.

    Mark’s post on the whole “sorry, not sorry” thing was published at midnight last night.

  18. Shaun says:

    It may sloppy sub-editing or even some malicious intent but I can’t see this as an attempt to smear Rudd as gay. It won’t get any traction even as a “chinese whisper” at tig mentioned. If this was a concerted attempt by News Ltd you would see one of their leading dim bulbs get involved.

    Nothing to worry about as far as I’m concerned.

  19. Paul says:

    Actually, with that picture there, my first impression was that they were referring to Costello. He is a Howard-rival, after all.

  20. Andrew says:

    I agree with Paul; my first impression was that it was referring to Costello, given the prominent photo of Howard with Costello, a leadership rival.

  21. FDB says:

    As contrasted with an “election rival”, which is what the headline says.

  22. mbahnisch says:

    This is worth posting on to air the issue, but my feeling is that people over-estimate the ability of sub-editors to think up a good headline at 2am in the morning.

    Crikey didn’t assert that there would be a “shock horror!” Rudd story today – a reader emailed in a tip. It was specifically denied by David Penberthy, the Terror ed, the next day.

    Occam’s razor suggests coincidence in timing and sloppy work by an underpaid tired subbie.

    If you want to look for the real dirty tricks in this campaign, just consider everything the Coalition is saying. It’s all brazen lies, from the Rove “turn your negative into a positive through deception” playbook.

  23. […] Posted by Ptobias under Internets, Kevin Rudd, homosexuality, media   Maybe Andrew Bolt organised this as payback for Leftist editing bias on […]

  24. Patricia WA says:

    Wish you guys would drop this – you’re gving it so much oxygen it’s becoming a story in itself. Please……let it go!

  25. joe2 says:

    “Wish you guys would drop this – you’re gving it so much oxygen it’s becoming a story in itself. Please……let it go!”

    Would you prefer Patricia of WA that other stories received more oxygen?

    For instance… it seems that the League of Rights are “a bit anti-Semitic”, according to the Prime Minister. ‘They are good folks really and we should look to the part where they are not anti-semitic’.

    Anybody out there ‘a little bit pregnant’?


  26. So I gather from this that Latham isn’t gay?

  27. joe2 says:

    “So I gather from this that Latham isn’t gay?”

    Confusion FXH is the prob. Nobody knows where the right hole is. With a good education system, user pays, we should be able to send the youth towards the right one.

  28. Ambigulous says:

    OK, here’s something to give some oxygen to…

    Coalition announces support for a digital ABC kids TV channel. “Friends of the ABC” cry foul (reported repeatedly oday on ABC Radio, 7pm TV news). FotABC claim it’s improper to make such an announcement during election campaign. Claim it’s tantamount to interfering in programming decisions…


    WTF do they think an election campaign is FOR? Promises, cash handouts, pork, policy announcements, “show me the money!”, cash, promises,etc. Where have FotABC been hiding out during the last twenty Federal election campaigns? A cave, without even an ABC wireless to listen in to??? The contending parties make promises. Some they keep, if elected. Some they discard. Lobby groups try to get parties to agree to their suggestions.

    As a footnote, ABC TV news reported tonight that ABC management had asked BOTH Coalition and Labor to agree to the Kids TV channel idea. So in the eyes of FotABC, was management requesting to be raped?

    Piffle, I say !!!

  29. philiptravers says:

    Then there is Family First firing follies fearsome frying Greens as anti-Family.Gad!The Cadbury chocolate salesman is frightened frangers and underpants will be shared at Christmas!Keep your fingers out of their Christmas stockings,and mind your Fs.

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